When you have children and are going through a divorce in Florida, nothing can be more difficult than having to discuss the changes with them. Depending on the ages of your children, they may not understand why you’re choosing to go through a divorce. They may not be able to understand your side of things compared to what they see in their everyday life, especially if you and your spouse have been hiding your issues from your kids.
Your situation isn’t unusual for families throughout the country. There are many parents who go through the same struggles as you are. Fortunately, since so many people have struggled with helping their children through divorce, there is a lot of helpful information available.
Respect your kids’ needs for age-appropriate honesty
For example, did you know that explaining the divorce appropriately for your child’s age matters, even if they’re toddlers? That’s right, even toddlers, who may be three or four years old, are capable of understanding that changes are happening. In some cases, they’re young enough that they may not remember the incident clearly, but the emotions from this tumultuous time may follow them for many years.
Once your child reaches preschool age, they’re able to understand cause and effect and how the world works around them. Their reality is sometimes blurred with fantasy, so you should always speak simply and explain fully what they should expect with the divorce. These children want to be independent and often are starting to show their independence. A divorce can cause them to “go backwards” developmentally in some instances, and in others, they may become withdrawn or more independent than before.
When kids reach 6 to 11 years of age, they begin to understand more. They have a better grasp of their feelings and are less egocentric. It’s normal for these individuals to assign blame as they reach the higher end of the age category.
Tweens and teens up to age 14 are better equipped to have discussions about divorce with their parents and can understand issues related to divorce more easily than younger age groups.
Overall, parents need to remember that children of all ages have the capacity to understand that changes are happening. How you explain the situation will help them overcome those changes and better understand where they fit in the world. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this sensitive situation, because your children need you to be able to help them move forward.